Consumer sentiment down as gas prices soar
The preliminary consumer sentiment index compiled by Thomson Reuters and the University of Michigan fell to 72.7 in January from 74.5 in December as gas prices soared, MarketWatch reported.
U.S. stocks wavered between gains and losses following the release of the report, which measures consumers’ assessments of current economic conditions.
The Labor Department reported earlier today that gasoline prices in December rose 8.5 percent.
“While the recovery certainly continues, it faces significant headwinds, which likely gets reflected in consumer psychology, as consumer confidence measures struggle to find a consistent upward path,” said Yelena Shulyatyeva, an economist with BNP Paribas.
Economists polled by MarketWatch had expected the index, which is well below the 86.1 average of the last decade, to rise to 76.
Consumer inflation expectations in January also rose to the highest reading in more than two years.